What is a Video Codec and How to Fix a Codec Error?

Computers & TechnologyMultimedia

  • Author Michelle O'brien
  • Published June 8, 2024
  • Word count 613

If you have ever tried to play a video file in media players like Windows Media Player, you might have seen an error message that says, "video codec not supported". If you are wondering what a video codec is and how it impacts video playback, this post will help you understand the issue better.

What is a video codec?

In simple terms, a video codec is a software that encodes and decodes the video data of a media file. In the same way, the audio data is processed through similar software, called an audio codec.

There are different types of video codecs that exist to encode different videos, such as MPEG-4 and DivX. A video container like MP4 or AVI will store video data that is encoded by such codecs.

As a container can encapsulate different codecs, it can be difficult for some media players to decode any codec a video might contain. To better understand this, imagine the video codec as both a lock and a key. The video data is locked by one codec, and to play the video successfully, the media player needs the corresponding key, which is the said codec. If the media player doesn’t have the "key", it will fail to play the file.

What to do if your movie file has an unsupported codec?

Generally, there are three ways to fix the unsupported codec problem: one is by installing a codec pack, and another way is to convert the codec to a supported format. Yet, the most straightforward way is just to use a different media player. I’ll break down the details of each method below.

Method 1: Use a universal media player

Many native media players come with a limited number of codecs that only support common media files. However, third-party media players like VLC or MPC-HC offer a broader range of formats and codecs, so they can play a wider variety of files, including more advanced formats like HEVC, DTS, and ProRes.

Method 2: Install a codec pack

A codec pack contains all mainstream and some rare formats and codecs to improve a video’s playback performance. Once integrated into your media player, it empowers the player to play media files it doesn’t support before.

K-Lite Codec Pack is one of the best free codec packs. You can go to the official website of K-Lite Codec Pack and download and install the standard version, which covers all the necessary codecs you may need now and in the future.

Method 3: Convert the video codec to a supported format

If a video codec is unsupported, then convert it to a supported format. It’s a simple logic. This method is much recommended if you want to play or share the media file across different devices. You can make the file a universal file that will play in any media player.

To do this, you can simply use a video converter like WonderFox Free HD Video Converter Factory. This is a free and reliable software on Windows that can convert formats and codecs of video and audio hassle-free. Moreover, it provides device presets to which you can convert your media files to in one click.

Here’s a simple tutorial on how to use this software:

  1. Download and install the software on your PC.

  2. Open the software and click “Converter”.

  3. Drag your unsupported file into the converter.

  4. Select the desired output format, preferably MP4.

  5. Click “Parameter settings” and adjust the video codec/encoder to a supported format. For instance, H264 or MPEG-4.

  6. Select the output path.

  7. Click “Run” to start the conversion.

After conversion, you should be able to play the media file without a codec error.

Michelle O'Brien

email: michelle@videoconverterfactory.com

Read relevant information at https://www.videoconverterfactory.com/tips/how-to-change-audio-format-of-a-video.html

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